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The Top Reasons Potty Training Isn’t Working and How to Handle It

You’ve read up on top potty-training tips and learnt how to understand the signs of readiness in your toddler. But parenting is by no means a one-size-fits-all situation which makes it all the more important to prepare for the unexpected. We’ve spoken to many parents who feel disheartened and as if they have failed in some way when their child has trouble with potty training.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. We all come up against barriers and stumbling blocks on the parenting journey and we’re all here to help each other. That’s why today’s post is focused on the reasons why your child may be struggling with potty training and how you can deal with the issues.

Struggling with Anxiety

The mind and body are closely aligned, so if your tot is struggling with excess anxiety then this can take a toll on milestone training. Sometimes the cause of the anxiety may be more overt – a new home, the arrival of a new sibling or starting nursery. At other times, he or she may simply struggle a little more than the norm when it comes to learning new skills.

The Power of Encouragement

A little encouragement goes a very long way when it comes to milestone learning. Praise your child when they do use the Family Seat successfully and make sure to fill in their progress chart together to track their positive development.

Read their favourite books together in the bathroom and encourage older siblings to support them too, to create a real sense of family. There’s no need to go OTT with the praise – just keep things relaxed and your child will start to relax too whilst enjoying their progress in a natural, unpressurised environment.

Dealing with Emotions

Developmental milestones signal that your child is developing independence in both an emotional and physical sense. However, sometimes children will resist potty training because they are simply being stubborn – they are comfortable in nappies and want to stay that way. As they develop symbolic thinking, the potty training process starts to take in layered emotions which can exacerbate the issue.

This means keeping calm and relaxed is all the more important but it’s not always easy. The best thing you and any other involved adults can do is to minimise the emotions. Balance out the responsibilities with your partner, a helpful hands-on grandparent or live-in nanny. This will avoid the situation becoming overwrought and inadvertently exacerbating the stubbornness issue by engaging in milestone battles with your child.

Understand the Signs of Constipation

A constipated child who is struggling to complete a bowel movement often becomes confused and may show this as a child who refuses to engage with the potty-training process. Familiarise yourself with the signs of constipation to ensure that you understand exactly what is going on and how to deal with the unique situation. This also goes for selective withholding. The more familiar you are with barriers that may crop up, the better opportunity you have for dealing with them successfully.


The Family Seat Progress Chart and Door Hanger are a great way to set up a rewards-based system for potty training. Every Family Seat comes complete with these potty-training essentials and a 10-Year Guarantee.

For advice on any aspect of potty training and for any help purchasing a Family Seat, email our team at . Family Seat supports the children’s communication charity I CAN, who are experts in helping children to develop the language, speech and communication skills that they need to thrive in our 21st-century world. We donate 50p to I CAN on each and every seat purchased through the official Family Seat website.

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